When making candies observe carefully the rules for boiling sugar. When sugar reaches the candy stage, the water has evaporated, and the tendency is to return to the original state of crystals. If it is jarred, or is stirred, or if the thin line of crystals formed around the pan by the sugar rising while boiling is allowed to remain, the whole mass will granulate, hence, for success, it is necessary to avoid these things. To keep the sides of the pan washed free of crystals dip a brush in water and pass it around the pan close to the edge of the sugar as often as is necessary; a sponge or a small piece of cloth may be used, but with these there is danger of burning the fingers. A very little acid added at the crack stage also prevents graining; this is termed "Greasing." If too much acid is used it prevents the sugar advancing to the caramel stage, and also may cause granulation. A few drops, only, of lemon-juice, of vinegar, or a little cream of tartar are the acids used.
The success of candy-making depends entirely upon boiling sugar to just the right degree. The candy will not harden if boiled too little. Another stage, where it hardens but sticks to the teeth, means the boiling was arrested at the hard-ball instead of the crack stage. Unless a thermometer is used, a little practice seems necessary before one recognizes the small differences upon which success depends; but the experience once gained, it is easy to make a pound or more of candy at slight expense. In the country where it is often impossible to get fresh candies, it is desirable to be able to make them. Where fondant is already prepared and kept in preserve jars, the cream bonbons can be quickly made. Carameled nuts are perhaps the least trouble to make of any candies.
A marble slab is almost requisite in making candy, though greased papers and tins can be used. Candy poured upon a slab cools quickly, has an even surface, and can be easily removed. Four square iron bars are useful to confine the sugar. These can be placed so as to form bays of the size suitable to the amount of sugar used and the thickness required.
Blanch one cupful of almonds. Chop them and place them in the oven to dry. They must be watched that they do not brown. Put into a saucepan two and a half cupfuls of powdered sugar and a tablespoonful of lemon-juice. Place it on the fire and stir with a wooden spoon until it is melted and slightly colored. Let it stand a few minutes so it will be thoroughly melted and not grainy, then turn in the hot almonds, mix them together quickly, not stirring long enough to grain the sugar, and turn it onto an oiled slab. Spread it out in an even sheet, one eighth of an inch thick, using a half lemon to press it with. While it is still warm, mark it off into squares or diamonds. Break it into pieces when cold. These sheets of nougat can be lifted and pressed into molds, but it hardens quickly and is not as easy to work as the receipt No. 2.